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The Untold Story of the Kingdom of Judah

(B2) The Untold Story of the History of Jerusalem Before its Conquest under David

Prof. Oded Lipschits

Memory-bearing objects, places and buildings are permanent elements in changing demographic, political and religious landscapes, whose memory is rooted in their very existence, and the interpretation, understanding and use of memory changes according to the needs and desires of each generation. The existence of memory-bearing objects, buildings and places for hundreds of years in Jerusalem preserved the memories associated with them and was the source for the stories that developed around them from ancient times. However, the meaning of these stories, their interpretation and their use changed all the time, and it is also possible that different stories and different interpretations existed among different social and religious groups at the same time, around the same places, buildings and objects. At a certain point, when these stories were written down, whether by the Deuteronomistic historians or by the Jerusalem scribes who preceded them, they preserved one particular version that revolved around the place, the object or the building that carried the ancient memory. This version was used for a literary, religious, political, or historiographical purpose, which is why the story was written down, and it is important to remember that the very act of writing down the story – which until that time had been preserved orally in various circles, who interpreted the memory preserved in an object, place or structure – also changed the story that is based on that memory, sometimes drastically. It is possible that in an earlier or later period this version was completely different, therefore the time in which the story was written, the people who wrote it, the historiographic sequence in which it was placed, the purpose for which it was written and the audience for which it was intended is also of great importance. The memories about the history of Jerusalem before its conquest in the days of David are a good example of the discussion about the sources which the historiographers had when they described periods that preceded them by hundreds of years.

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